Wednesday, October 31, 2007


More tomorrow. :)

Halloween prep

We carved our pumpkins Monday night. Mr. Potato Head pieces greatly hasten the process when you have 7 pumpkins; unfortunately, I wore my apple corer clear out (I guess they are really only meant for apples). Yesterday, Liam had his Halloween party at Cindy's house. We are almost worn out by Halloween and haven't even gone trick-or-treating yet. It's nuts!

Liam decided that he and Mallory would wear their Halloween shirts one last time today, and save the costumes for tonight. I couldn't convince them to put the costumes on to go to the library. Oh well.I am just thankful that we are not in the ER today nursing a concussion for Mallory after she succeeded in climbing up on a package of toilet paper to get onto a table to pull down a plant in a ceramic planter. I jumped out of the shower just in time to see it come crashing down on her shoulder, just missing her head.

Oy. I need a better plan.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What's new: Mallory edition

Before she was born, I worried that Mallory would be our firecracker child. Although she's been a wonderful, calm and complacent baby thus far... I can't quite shake the feeling that the honeymoon may be over.

The best development with Mallory over the past week or two is that she is now a settled night sleeper (or at least, she's on her way to being one.) Most nights she is in bed by 7:30 and is up once for a feeding around 3 or 4 a.m. before bunking down again til morning. This is so heavenly, I can't even tell you. I don't know how long she'll go with that night feeding but as long as it's not six night feedings anymore... I'm happy.

She has 8 teeth now, having got the top two front teeth within 24 hours of each other last week. She eats almost everything as far as cereals, fruits and vegetables go, as well as chicken and beef, and yesterday I gave her some cheese for the first time. I think this is a little earlier than Liam started dairy, but she loves it; and I'm looking for finger food ideas, and this fits the bill. I also think back to Liam's little friend, KFC Baby, who was eating fast food gravy at 2 months old; surely this can't be any worse, right? I may try yogurt next, but still plan to hold her off straight milk until 9 months or so.

Craziest of all, she is pulling up on everything and keeping us on our toes. She even lets go momentarily now; I think she'll be walking by the end of the year for sure. This is becoming a problem when, for instance, I'm in the shower. If I let her play with toys on the floor in her room (which is what I normally do - I can see her when I stick my head out) she's liable to pull up on something and possibly take a header. If I put her in her crib, Liam climbs in to be with her, and his method of climbing in finishes off with a drop over the rail that is likely to hurt her if she's in the wrong place at the wrong time. I don't want her playing in the bathroom with me because the floor is ceramic tile and she'll hurt herself if she falls in there. The exersaucer is already packed away; she hates being confined...

She has also learned how to take CDs out of the CD player in her room, which is under her change table only because that's the only place it will fit - it's too deep for the bookshelf.

And, the downside of the extended nighttime sleeping hours is that her daytime sleeps have been cut even shorter. Yesterday, she got up an hour before Liam did, went down for a nap 15 minutes after him, and woke up more than an hour before he did. And then she only went to bed 20 or so minutes earlier than him at night. I do wish she were more of a sleeper, but I guess she has too much to get done in a day. With any luck she will be a Martha Stewart type who only requires 4 hours of sleep per night as an adult and is able to build a business empire because of it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

What's new with us: Liam edition

I haven't been around a lot lately, and it astounds me to think of how much changes over the course of just a week. Liam, for example, has learned how to spit out his toothpaste rather than swallow it, so he has graduated to the big-kid variety that contains fluoride. He is going through a puzzle phase with a Noah's Ark puzzle that has 30 pieces; he does it about five times per day, and is amazingly good at it (though by now I know he just has it memorized). He is totally pumped for Halloween; there is a party at Cindy's tomorrow and he is so looking forward to it. He is becoming a challenging little dude to grocery shop with. Although he is very good at taking no for an answer, he does ask for everything he sees, and when we didn't get any treats at the grocery store (what with Halloween looming and all) he asked if we could stop at Bulk Barn, which he calls 'the snack store', on the way home. For some chips, he said. (Negative.)

Chad reconfigured Liam's train table during his nap yesterday, something we figured he would either love or hate (I had visions of him screaming "Put it back! Put it back!") He seems surprisingly indifferent. Another big thing of his right now is looking through the Sears Christmas Wish Book. I don't think he understands yet that he can ask for some of the things in there and they might actually show up on Christmas morning; but I know the whole world will convert to Christmas on November 1st (our house included) and he'll have plenty of time to catch on.

Hmmm... maybe there is not as much new with Liam as I thought when I first started this post. Well, Mallory will make up for that, and I'll get to her tomorrow.

(As I write this, I have just gotten off the treadmill and am wearing the same workout shorts that did me in last week. Yes, they have been through the wash in the meantime, but I still wonder if I am asking for it.)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This used to be a new trick... a couple of weeks ago

I haven't been posting much lately and it's not because I am dying a slow and miserable spider-induced death - it's because I've been lazy. Still too lazy today to type any more out, so watch this instead. This was back when it was a novelty; now she's hoisting herself up on everything.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Not so much fun

The past 48 hours have sucked. On Tuesday morning, I retrieved a pair of workout shorts from a cupboard that is built into our midcentury home. An hour after putting them on, I noticed what looked like a mosquito bite on my stomach just above the waistband. A few hours later it was the size of the palm of my hand, then the size of my entire hand, and currently the size of both of my hands put together. Red, swollen, itchy, hot, and containing a pattern of concentric red and white rings. Add to this a killer headache, nausea and general malaise... I think it's fair to say that some little critter (I'm guessing a spider) was hiding out in those clothes when I put them on. (Note to self - never go near said cupboard again. Good thing we are moving!)

Of course, if you google 'spider bite', or ask anyone you know about it, you will hear horror stories to end all horror stories. Tales of flesh-eating bacteria and near-death experiences. Well, that was enough for me. My doctor is out of town this week and the nurse I spoke to on the phone wasn't much help, so I spent two hours at a walk-in clinic yesterday afternoon. The doctor I saw there told me to put some anti-itch cream on it and sent me home. By night, it had grown about three inches in diameter and the swelling was only getting worse, so I went to the emergency room where the triage nurse took one look at it and told me I'd better stick around long enough to get seen. I had some bloodwork done which ruled out infection before getting home six hours later at 3 a.m.

I am feeling much better today, though it looks like it will be some time before the mark is gone, and I am supposed to stay vigilant about necrosis/fever for the next few days. Yes, I have a photo of my bite but no, I won't post it here. It's a bit too gruesome for a G-rated website.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sweetie girl

We have lots of nicknames for her, but this is the one that I use the most.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Who needs Disney?

When Liam was still just a wee thing, Chad concocted a plan for us to take a family trip to Disney in the spring of 2010. (Yeah... we are both big planners, and enjoy having something to look forward to!) We figured having a 5 year old and a 3 year old would be the ideal time to go. Only trouble is... it still seems so far off.Never fear. On the weekend we went to Detroit, where Chad ran the half marathon. And we found out that there is more than enough fun to be had in your standard hotel room... I don't know what will happen to Liam when we add cartoon characters and rides into the mix... maybe he'll implode??We stayed at the RenCen and were central to everything. Getting across the border was brutal - a reflection of the dollar's parity, perhaps? - but the kids were thrilled when we got to the hotel. Liam took charge of the baggage and was awed by the view out our 15th-floor window, which overlooked the People Mover (train) and downtown core. Both kiddos enjoyed jumping around on the bed.This was the view to one side of our hotel room... in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.It wouldn't be a trip to Detroit without Pizza Papalis for dinner! This time we ordered takeout though... didn't have the patience to wait the hour for them to make it to order in the restaurant.Why were we there again? Oh yeah, so Chad could run. The weather was great for spectating, though it was a bit windy and warm to be running. The spectating... Liam was actually able to pick Chad out of the swarm of runners, too, which was exciting for him. It's a big race (more than 10,000 runners) so that's easier said than done.Both kiddos are so proud of their dad and got a kick out of his finisher's medal. Post-race hanging out by the waterfront. Liam had an incident with these fountains after dark on Saturday night... I think his things have finally dried out now!

Friday, October 19, 2007


Liam came home from Gramma and Grampa's house today with an ancient birders' field guide they picked up at a used book store. He sat down with it and gave me a walk-through and I was dumbstruck - I think he could give me a biology lesson. How does a two-year-old know this much about birds and even more pressing - why does he care??

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Lately I have lost a lot of interest in posting here... mostly because it seems to be a daily, repetitious whinefest, which is not really the purpose I intend to serve. Woe is me, I'm tired, blah blah blah.

Last night was no exception. Mallory was up 4 times before 1 a.m. I put her back to bed at 1:20 a.m. and she was up ten minutes later at 1:30 a.m. - and I didn't go get her. To be honest, it wasn't a conscious decision; it was more a matter of Just give me a few minutes to figure out which way is up before I try to get out of bed... and those few minutes turned into a few more... and then it was kind of like, we've come this far... let's see it through. In all, she cried for 50 minutes. So, um, yeah - a lot longer than I thought. Though only about 5 of it was hard crying, the rest was (grumble grumble grumble) - (pause) - I could literally see the wheels turning in her mind (Is she coming yet? No? Grumble grumble grumble...) Well, intentional or not, it got her through to her 5:30 a.m. feeding with no more wakings.

The question now is, do I repeat it tonight? Do I refuse to go to her at all? What if she's up ten times, do I go to her for any of them or refuse altogether? (She was up once already, squawked for 20 seconds, then settled down.) Most importantly, what sort of psychological damage am I causing? With Liam, we went through the agony of letting him cry to sleep at night a few times, but it was always when we first put him down - he didn't need settling multiple times per night. I dug out Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and it tells me to make Mallory suck it up and not worry about it. This has been going on for a long time - I do feel like the time has come to do something about it, and tonight Liam is sleeping over at Gramma and Grampa's and Chad is out of town, so if Mal screams bloody murder, she won't be disrupting the whole house. It's just that, well, I seem to have gone soft. I know we did it with Liam when he was a lot younger than this, but that doesn't stop my heart from breaking. I'm heading off to bed now and still undecided on just how far I will let it go before I cave.
Oh yeah, and remember this guy? He's still around. Still doing well. He just doesn't get up ten times each night... which is why he doesn't get much airtime these days.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

For sale by owner:

One small redhead, female, 2 ft 3 inches, 15 pounds, like new condition. Answers to 'Mallory' but with some time and effort that can be changed. Likes: watching herself in the mirror, preschool-age boys, TV, chewing on anything and everything. Dislikes: most vegetables and sleeping!!

Seriously, I thought I was doing well, with Chad away. Mallory and I skipped playgroup again in favour of a nap. (I feel bad for her missing it so much, but it just seems that every Tuesday we are both dog-tired. I seem to have developed some afternoon insomnia though; I can't seem to sleep more than 20-30 minutes at a stretch during the day, which is definitely not enough.) I ordered some takeout from my favourite new restaurant (Thai) for dinner, and picked it up before we went to get Liam. He loved the mango salad and pineapple rice and ate a big dinner. After dinner we made some banana muffins, to kill time on a rainy day... and then it all fell apart. I was washing the dishes after making our muffins and suddenly noticed my feet were wet. Yup, big leak under the kitchen sink, water dripping down into the basement... the works. Called Chad's parents and interrupted their dinner with a request to come bearing a toolkit. The sink fixed, Liam went to bed OK but Mallory was up late, and then was up 4 times last night, including a long stint that went from about 5:30 - 6:45 a.m. - and she went back to bed just in time for Liam to get up and toddle into my room asking for Treehouse, Cheerios and the BBQ to play with.

I thought there was light at the end of the tunnel when I got Liam to poop on the potty this morning for the first time ever - but then despite me whooping it up for him, buying him some Gummy Bears on our walk as a reward and him assuring me he couldn't wait to do it again - he pooped in his diaper again after lunch, and when I went to change him I discovered that Mallory also had a blowout that required some serious cleaning and changing of clothes... poop, poop and more poop. And sleeplessness. Such is my life!!

(The whole potty training issue will surely be discussed at length here soon!)

(Yes, that was Chad you saw in the crowd on The Today Show twice this morning (I got one of the appearances Tivo'd). Today is probably my all-time favourite show, so it makes me happy that he took the time to go make an appearance for me!!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Because Chad is prone to missing spots

How much trouble can one little girl be?

A lot... when she refuses to sleep! Last night was another all-nighter with her. I've confirmed now that teeth numbers 5 & 6 are in, but I don't think that's why she was up; she was just being social. Groooooooan. Liam was up, too. All I can say is, I'm glad it was last night and not tonight, because with both of them up, both of us parents were required; and Chad just left this morning on a trip to NYC. I had forgotten about this one, but the travel season is not over yet! As much as it would kill me to be away from the kids for 4 days, were I in his shoes... I have to admit that I'm jealous... because 3 nights in the comfy, quiet sanctuary of the Hyatt? Sounds wonderful right about now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Their sixth sense

On those days when I am able to get both kids down for a simultaneous afternoon nap, which is still most days, the following are the things I do with my resulting free time. They're in no particular order, except for the first item, which always tops the list:

  • Sleep

  • Vacuum - our playroom honestly needs it twice a day

  • Scrapbook, edit photos, or work on other crafty projects

  • Bake (this one used to happen during naptime a lot more often, but now Liam gets upset when I bake without him, so I try to schedule this into his day, too)

  • Watch The Mom Show and Cityline on TV (always in the background, while doing other stuff)

  • Surf the net and check email

  • Read magazines, if I was lucky to score some good ones that morning at the library or grocery store

  • Watch Tivo'd episodes of The Hills or chick flicks - i.e. TV watching that does not involve Chad

  • However... this house-building project of ours is creeping into every corner of our lives. We have a master list of fix-ups we want to accomplish prior to listing our house for sale. Most of these things are minor (about 90% involve touch-up paint) and most are things that would best be left until the last minute; no sense painting the baseboards today if they will be subject to Liam's cars and trucks, and the highchair wheels, every day for the next six months. But... there are a few things we can do now. Some of these involve exterior paint, the kind that, once done, will last many years before needing to be repeated; and since we really only need for it to last for the next year or so - why not get started now? Well, that made a lot of sense when we first talked about it a month ago, and now that it is mid-October... it's almost too late. But we decided to make a play this week while the weather is still warm, and so this morning before our grocery run I hit the paint store. After groceries we made an excursion to the park - you know, the kind intended to really tire the kiddos out - and then after lunch they went down for their naps.

    Except that they didn't. I put Liam down, then fed Mallory, and put her down, and once upstairs with her I realized Liam was running around in his room, so I put him down again. And then again, ten minutes later. Ten minutes after that it sounded like all was quiet, so I went out and got started painting the garage door, and about two minutes after dirtying the paintbrush and roller (with oil paint, not even easy-cleanup-latex) I heard Mallory start to wail over the baby monitor. I gave her a couple of minutes, to no avail, so I went in to get her, and found Liam still not sleeping, either. The one day that I try to get some serious work done rather than indulge in 'me time' - and this is what I get.So Mallory sat in the stroller, and Liam ran around the yard while I painted. Well, that was the idea, anyway. The reality was that he was unable to stay well back as I asked, and he has a sleeveful of grey paint on his shirt now that I won't likely be able to wash out. Ah well. The garage door is done - one job crossed off the list. It's supposed to rain on and off all week, but I'd like to tackle the garage trim if I get the chance, too. There are several interior paint jobs that can be tackled any time now, too; and with any luck, Mallory will start sleeping longer at night, I will require less daytime sleep myself, and I might be able to make some headway on these jobs before my maternity leave runs out, so that we're not quite so stressed when it's time to list the house next spring.

    Sunday, October 14, 2007

    Two and a half

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Confessions of a scrapbook addict

    I need to have some sort of creative outlet at all times and lately... it's the kids' scrapbooks. As much as I enjoy doing them though, I do need to use a few tricks to keep caught up and not get overwhelmed by them... because maintaining two books, well, it's twice the work of maintaining one. These days, Liam's book is more about experiences and places we go, with an occasional quirk or funny saying of his thrown in, and Mallory's is more about firsts; but those areas definitely overlap. Take, for instance, our recent trip to the pumpkin patch. For Liam, that was a bona fide event: And for Mallory, it was a definite first (let's not talk about the guilt that comes from having enough photos of Liam to do a 2-page spread, but only enough of Mal for 1, and even then only by using one of Liam as a filler!): My favourite trick to keep caught up is to plagiarize myself. When I find a layout that works, I copy it. Case in point: I did the pumpkin patch page for Mallory first... then swapped out the photos, changed the text and boom - suddenly it's a page about Liam's trip to the cornfield maze. Gotta love digital!!Mallory's cornfield maze experience did not warrant a page, poor girl, but then again... Liam doesn't have pages devoted just to him wearing a super cute hair clip, so I figure it's all a wash. The problems surface when the firsts overlap with the events. Where does this page from Thanksgiving go, assuming I don't cave and print one for each kid, which seems kind of excessive? I'm thinking maybe Mallory, since it was her first Thanksgiving and her baptism, but still... the pages aren't exclusively hers, yaknow?
    I'm thinking that, after Mallory's first year, I will do a combined family album of some sort... maybe maintain a book for each kiddo for their specific, individual stuff, but then when we have a field trip or 'event'... there's one page for it. For both kids. No more of this doubling up business.
    Although Chad is generally a good sport about the time I spend scrapbooking, the supplies that pile up and the neverending quest for the perfect photo... I am sure he'll be thrilled to catch wind of future plans to scale back.

    Thursday, October 11, 2007

    Six months

    Dear Mallory,

    Six months! Half a year! Oddly, I’m not as teary-eyed right now as I thought I’d be. Maybe it’s because it really does seem like you have been around for that long – it hasn’t snuck up on me. And the reason why it really does seem like you’ve been around for that long? It’s because you’ve accomplished so much in such a short time.

    This month, you made leaps and bounds in terms of your physical prowess. At the start of the month you were just rolling and squirming to move around. Within days you were inchworming, and then you learned the army crawl, and last week you took your first few real crawling steps. Last week you also figured out how to sit up on your own, and you even pulled up in your crib for the first time. The milestones are coming fast and furious!

    You have 4, possibly 5 teeth now (I still can’t tell if one is ‘officially’ through or not). You started with a bottom centre tooth but then, true to Cook form, you cut one of your fangs – what is it with our family and getting these teeth early? Your teeth have been a source of woe for you this month. You are pretty miserable when they come in. You were cutting teeth on your baptism day, and so slept through most of your party. You were also cutting teeth when I took these six-month shots of you, and though they turned out well technically, you really aren’t your normal, smiley self in most of them.

    On top of your baptism, this month you had your first Thanksgiving (in fact, they were the same day), first trip to the pumpkin patch and cornfield maze, first apple picking sojourn… all of the regular hallmarks of fall. You have also been enjoying a wide range of fruits, vegetables and cereals now that you are on solids. The vegetables are definitely not your first choice; you grimace something awful with each mouthful, but you do your best to choke a few spoonfuls down each time, enough to satisfy me that at least you are trying.

    This is particularly important because at your six-month check-up, you clocked in at 15 pounds even and 27 inches long. The medical student who saw you first made a big stink about the fact that you haven’t doubled your birth weight; you should be somewhere around 16.5 pounds by now. When Dr. Bailey saw you though, she wasn’t concerned; she made a comment to the effect that we should all be so lucky to be tall and skinny! I’m sure it’s too early to tell what your final physique will be just yet, but you are certainly a healthy little girl and we don’t worry about you. You do seem to have fattened up in the past month; maybe those solids are kicking in and filling out your frame.

    You know it wouldn’t be a ‘letter from mom’ if I didn’t gripe about your sleep habits, right? Well… stop the presses… they are getting better! Your normal pattern now is to have 2 feedings each night – still a lot by most standards, but much better than the 4+ times a night from even just a few weeks ago. There’s light at the end of the tunnel…

    This month I have become more and more immersed in the girlie world with you. Your hair is finally long enough to put a few little clips in. I have a closet full of clothes for you for next summer, because I keep seeing adorable things I just can’t pass up (pink and brown is still my favourite combination for you.) I have things for you for right now, too if only this 90 degree weather would break and give you the chance: a sweet little pair of shearling boots, an adorable pea coat, hats to match… it sure is fun having a real live little doll to dress up!

    And it’s not just about playing dress-up… you are growing sweeter and more irresistible day by day. Your smiley face and belly laugh add a lot of life to our family. We’re so lucky that you’re here.


    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Who is it that calls my house at 3 p.m. every afternoon...

    ...and wakes me up, then doesn't say anything when I pick up the phone? You suck!!

    Well, now that I am up (*groan*) I will get to the business of posting some photos from Monday's trip out to our local cornfield maze. This is the third year we've gone, and I don't know whether it's the fact that it was 90+ degrees in the baking sun with no breeze whatsoever, or simply the fact that the novelty has worn off, but... none of us enjoyed ourselves as much this year as we have in the past. The minute we got into the maze, Liam kept saying we should find our way out again, and I had to agree with him. We didn't even bother finishing the second half. How awful is that?We did make use of the other amenities included with the price of admission though, like the corn box - big, big hit:And we also finally got Liam on the Cow Train - not included in the price of admission, but only $1 more and the kids were on it for a good ten minutes. Much more bang for your buck than the $4, 30-second-long carny rides at the fair.This cow train shows up at all the local events and Liam always looks intrigued by it... until it's his turn to get on... and then he shys away. This time, he rode it! The best part of the day by far, though, as far as Liam was concerned? We smuggled a bit of corn out of the maze with us, and then later that day, we went to feed the ducks. And let me tell you... approaching a gaggle of ducks and geese with corn? It drives 'em nuts. We were mobbed.Maybe next year will be the year when Liam is completely thrilled to find himself lost in a field. We'll keep trying. If nothing else, at least it gets us out for some fresh air and exercise... something I find I am lacking these days!!

    Tuesday, October 09, 2007


    Things have been hectic and as usual, it never rains but it pours - how can I go weeks with nothing brewing, and then have a mountain of material to share? This weekend was Thanksgiving, which we celebrated twice - first with dinner at the Cooks' on Saturday......aren't they cute together? Mallory is learning how to fend for herself and fight off Liam's advances... ...a request for a snap from Gramma and Grampa while we were there... ...and then on Sunday, Mallory was baptized. This is the only photo I have from the event (thanks Dad!) - the minister who performed the baptism (not our regular minister) disappeared after the service before I could request a posed shot, and between trying to get lunch together for everyone back at our house, and the fact that Mallory put in two new teeth on Sunday and was therefore either (a) sleeping or (b) irritable for the rest of the day, I didn't even get a photo of her dressed up. So if anyone who was there has one they can email me, I would really appreciate it.This was the first time I can recall seeing Liam actually playing with his cousin Henry. Even if by 'playing' I mean that they chased each other around the house about 50 times... Liam being fuelled, perhaps, by the chocolate turkey he'd just polished off. That's what holidays are for, right?
    More to come... still have to cover Monday, not to mention the fact that - sniff - it's my baby's half birthday today.